Beyond words: art therapy for self-expression with female inmates

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Effie Koomson
Mavis Osei
Rebecca Essel


This study investigated art therapy as communicative therapeutic intervention among female prison inmates at the Kumasi Female Prison. The study participants for the research comprised 34 inmates who had agreed and shown interest in partaking in the research. This group was purposively sampled with the help of the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale, which had indicated the inmates with high levels of stress. The study took to the qualitative approach of research and made use of the descriptive method. A thematic analysis of data was employed and findings for the study revealed that art used as a non-verbal communicative tool, had the power to express pent up negative emotions by prison inmates. It was also found out that since inmates may feel uncomfortable with verbal therapies, engaging in art activities serve as a way of communicating uncensored emotions in a safe and trusting environment without fear of judgment. The study suggests that art therapy be made part of the healing therapies in Ghanaian prisons, since art is intrinsic in the prison setting to help alleviate destructive emotions such as depression, anxieties, fear and stress. The research indicates the effectiveness of art and its processes in the management of some psychological issues amongst inmates.


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How to Cite
Koomson, E., Osei, M., & Essel, R. (2020). Beyond words: art therapy for self-expression with female inmates. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(3), 28-46.

How to Cite

Koomson, E., Osei, M., & Essel, R. (2020). Beyond words: art therapy for self-expression with female inmates. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(3), 28-46.


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